Dear Synagogue Member,
As we are all aware, attacks on Jews are currently on the rise. A year after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, and with the current climate of aggression in New York, safety is of the highest priority. Improving the security protocols at Adat Shalom in response to this increased threat is now essential.
There are many aspects that make any security plan challenging to create and to implement. Like most other synagogues in North America, our parking lot and building were not designed to be hardened or to have strong barriers to access. If we have easily identifiable serious security on our perimeter, chances are, the individual looking to do harm might look somewhere else. This has been achieved with the Farmington Hills Police department for all Shabbat, holidays and major synagogue publicized events. The balancing of open hospitality, with controlling access on the other hand, is not easy, especially when we frequently have visitors who are new to us.
Security comes at a cost which has not traditionally been a part of any budget. In addition to contracting with the Farmington Hills Police Department, we have installed numerous security measures designed to limit access to our building. Our board has discussed this issue for well over a year, electing to avoid an assessment. However, after hearing from many members and other Jewish institutions, we realize that this would be well received, and money put to good use.
We are asking each household for an annual voluntary contribution to the security assessment fund of $180. This represents an initial assessment for the fiscal year 2019/2020 which began November 1. I trust that all will contribute if able. Please use the form below.
We were raised in a different world, where synagogue doors were unlocked and everyone was welcome with little or no scrutiny. Security was a concern, but not a frequent topic of conversation in board meetings. One of our biggest challenges around security issues is to maintain our vigilance without fundamentally altering our spiritual practice by creating a fortress or police state. I believe that we have been successful in doing this at Adat Shalom. Our conversations about security will and must continue. We have achieved many positive security enhancements, but will continue to deploy additional measures to achieve the correct balance in the months to come. Please make no mistake about it – the safety of our members, staff and guests is of paramount importance. We want to be safe, and feel safe, so that we can experience our congregational home free of fear.
Sanford J. Vieder, D.O., President